Computer And Conference Centre

Computer And Conference Centre

Richard Murphy
London, United Kingdom
Project Year

University Of East London - Computer And Conference Centre

Richard Murphy as Architects

The Campus __________ The construction of these three major new buildings is not just an exercise in providing teaching accommodation. Rather the opportunity has been taken to fashion a Campus-wide identity by restricting our palette of materials and setting out to create memorable external spaces. It is very easy for an institution such as a University to think in terms of buildings with little consideration to the definition of the spaces between them; indeed the post-Cullinan developments at Docklands generally indicate that approach. At Stratford, by contrast, the higher density of building coupled with the need for campus security led us quite easily to the model of the Oxbridge College; i.e. a sequence of linked courtyards with generally only one or at most two entrances from the outside world. The creation of a “College Green” was never a requirement in a University brief; we invented it and we are delighted that the students have taken to using it so enthusiastically. Indeed, the creation of this oasis in an otherwise fairly disjointed urban environment we believe has transformed the perception of the campus from “buildings” into “a place”. It’s our fervent hope that the location of the forthcoming library will physically join the Cass School and the Computer building to close and define a second Court. Further opportunities for place making offer themselves on the north and east side of the Arthur Edwards.

Clinical Education Building ___________________________ This building houses three main functions, a 24-seat podiatry clinic and associated biomechanic laboratories, five sub-divisible physiotherapy studios and a sports science laboratory. The podiatry section is a public clinic operated under the aegis of Newham NHS Primary Care Trust and has reception and waiting areas as well as a minor operations suite. The location of the building closes the campus to the east and spans the former east-west road “The Green”, podiatry being to the north and physiotherapy and sports science on the top floor with its own roof terrace to the south. We were required to leave a ground floor pend through the building (closed by a gate) because of a major water main under the original road. The building also abuts the gable ends of existing terraced housing on Ferns Road and this part reduces to two stories as a result and forms the public entrance. Internally, the plan is arranged along a spine corridor in the southern section flanked on both sides with physiotherapy studios. The northern half places the specialist biomechanical rooms on the top floor but the lower two floors for podiatry itself are quite innovative. Patient privacy is a high priority whilst at the same time each of the four groups of six students needs to be supervised by a tutor. All other existing podiatry centres oblige patients to circulate past the ends of other patient’s booths and so, with the analogy of opera boxes in mind, we designed a two story high curved wall of booths, twelve per floor. On either side are double height spaces; a waiting area giving independent access to each booth whilst on the opposite side students and staff circulate on their own stair between the two floors. A double height window allows all the patients to look out at the view of the now completed College green whilst undergoing treatment and yet be completely private. Externally the local adjacent materials of red brick and stone (substituted by precast concrete) were used and layered with eternit grey panels and steel windows. The College Green elevation was finished in white render and eternit. The artist Linda Green was responsible for the internal colour scheme.

Computer & Conference Centre ____________________________ The building consists of a 400 seat lectures theatre, foyer and University entrance, general teaching rooms and a 400 screen computer library. The lecture theatre at first floor is expressed externally as an Eternit clad object and has unusually two corner windows and acts as an architectural pivot between the entrance road and the new College Green. Underneath it is the entrance foyer. A fire-escape doubles as a direct route to a vomitorium entrance to the theatre above for the public (also useful for late-comers) but the main routes are to teaching accommodation to the rear and an angled staircase with a direct view of the computer library on the first floor. On the way this stair also serves the main entrances to the lecture theatre. The computer library is double height arranged into groups of 30 or 60 seats around long tables with teaching walls to the rear and views to the College Green to the front. A help desk is placed immediately on entrance. The space is naturally ventilated with light levels deliberately kept low, except around the three staircases which connect the two levels and subdivide the lower computer bays. Here light is introduced in a dramatic form and reflected off strong colours. Externally a pend links the First College Green courtyard to the emerging second courtyard

Cass School Of Education _________________________ The building is organised around a simple idea; everything should be visible on entry and that there should be no corridors. A top lit atrium has three floors of teaching accommodation on the north side, balanced by four floors of offices on the south. And, since the floor to ceiling heights are different on either side, this produces a continual journey through two stairs on either side from floor to floor to the top. (these stairs have their escape function disguised by hold-open doors). Both offices and teaching rooms are glass fronted so that all the activity of the building can be seen. There are two “special” moments. Firstly, one-to-one interview rooms have been formed into a plywood clad tower which cantilevers out into the main space overhanging the entrance desk on the ground floor. At the top of this tower is an open meeting space. And secondly a small music performing room has been placed adjacent to the entrance and expressed externally as an object. It required a higher ceiling height, so the floor has been lowered giving us the opportunity of making a lowered foyer space in the Atrium which doubles as the Faculty exhibition area. The roof of this room has been used to give the staff room a south facing terrace. Along the north side, on Cedars Road, the building is stepped back to acknowledge the residential buildings adjacent. The atrium is mostly naturally ventilated and steel fins are placed behind the south facing roof light to accelerate air movement.

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